He who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life.
If you are not ready to label Jesus as a lunatic or a liar, then the only other possibility is that He was who He claimed to be: God in the flesh. If we conclude that Jesus is God, then we must also believe that everything Jesus said is true, since God is incapable of deception (James 1:17; Hebrews 6:18). So did Jesus believe there are multiple paths to God? What did Jesus have to say about the issue of exclusivity?
First, Jesus believed and taught that there are two possible eternal destinations for people after they die: heaven and hell. “And these [the unrighteous] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).
Not only did Jesus teach that there are two possible destinations for people when they die, but Jesus also observed that the majority of mankind chooses the wrong path that leads to the wrong destination. Jesus warned:
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Consider how different Jesus’ words are from the popular idea that everyone is on the spiritual path to heaven. According to Jesus, there are two spiritual paths: one leading to eternal life and another leading to eternal destruction. Alarmingly, among the “many” who are on the wide road leading to hell are religious people—some of whom claim to be followers of Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:21-23).
Finally, Jesus believed that He offered the exclusive way for people to experience eternal life. When people accuse me of intolerance for suggesting that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to experience heaven, I remind them that I am simply voicing what the Founder of our faith said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus taught that a person’s eternal destiny depends on his decision to embrace or reject Christ’s salvation: “He who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). Sincere followers of other religions are not exempt from the requirement to trust in Christ alone for salvation.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Know Christianity Is the Right Religion?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.